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September 13, 2009
There were smiles all around the Hong Kong camp at the Maple Leaf North-West Ground despite ending up on the losing side. Hong Kong managed to qualify for the ICC Under-19 World Cup on the basis of a superior net run-rate and in the process managed to edge out Netherlands and Uganda - who were all tied on points before this game - with one qualifying spot at stake. They lost narrowly by one wicket on Sunday against USA - a thrilling last-ball finish - but that was enough to see them through to the World Cup finals.
Irfan Ahmed was the stand-out performer for Hong Kong, as his 90 helped them to 210 for 8. His innings came at a very crucial stage in the innings when they were struggling at 84 for 6. He was helped along the way by Asif Khan (34) and Aizaz Khan (30*). The USA batsmen failed to convert their starts but were still on course to the target at 189 for 6. But quick strikes by Niaz Ali and Aizaz turned the script, before Saami Siddiqui and Salman Ahmad steered them home.
"All the boys are just over the moon that we have qualified and at the way we fought back after such a poor start to the event," Jamie Atkinson, the Hong Kong captain, said. "It would have capped it off to get a win against the USA, but we couldn't quite manage it."
Hong Kong join Ireland, Afghanistan, Canada, Papua New Guinea and USA in the U-19 World Cup in New Zealand next year.
Meanwhile, Ireland clinched the U-19 World Cup Qualifiers title after demolishing Vanuatu by 291 runs at the South-East ground. Such was the dominance that one batsman - Paul Stirling - managed to score twice of what 11 Vanuatu batsmen could manage. His blazing 164 off 128 balls pushed his team to 373, before the opposition was bundled out for 82.
Stirling blazed 17 fours and seven sixes in his knock, which helped Ireland get to the 300-mark. Graham McDonnell then carried on the momentum with an aggressive unbeaten 74 off 38 balls. The game was over 15 overs into the chase as Shane Getkate and Craig Young took six and four wickets respectively to wrap up the match. Lazaro Carlot was the only batsman who managed to get double figures.
"I'm really delighted with our performance," Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie said. "We thought that net run-rate would come into it so we wanted to score lots of runs and the lads performed really well."
Getkate said Vanuatu had got off to a great start so the bowlers concentrated on bowling straight. "It's a great opportunity for us to go and play in the World Cup. I missed the last World Cup through injury so hopefully that won't happen again. We want to defeat a Test nation at the event and be competitive and we also know that some good performances might help us get into the senior team."
The hosts Canada recorded a comfortable five-wicket win over Afghanistan at the South-West Ground. It was a disappointing day with the bat for Afghanistan, as they could only manage 165. Hiral Patel and Nitish Kumar took three wickets apiece to set up the win. Ruvindu Gunasekara led the chase with an unbeaten 57 as Canada got home with more than six overs to spare.
Heni Siaka's 103 laid the foundation for Papua New Guinea's 86-run win against Netherlands at the North-East Ground. His 127-ball knock included eight fours. The target of 255 proved way out of reach for Netherlands, whose batting crumbled to 103 for 8. Ferdi Vink and Lucas Brouwers then delayed the inevitable to push the score to 168. PNG ended on third place, behind Afghanistan.
|Papua New Guinea Under-19s||9||7||2||0||0||14||+0.459||1666/381.1||1510/386.0|
|United States of America Under-19s||9||6||3||0||0||12||+0.340||1610/399.5||1468/398.1|
|Hong Kong Under-19s||9||3||6||0||0||6||-0.251||1243/358.3||1423/382.4|
|Sierra Leone Under-19s||9||0||9||0||0||0||0/0.0||0/0.0|
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